the scrapbook: near-black green

onthresholds_edgartown exteriorIMG_0040

In Edgartown proper on Martha’s Vineyard it is called “near-black green” and in the South it is commonly referred to as “Charleston green.”

It’s the deep, inky green found on shutters and doors in many historic homes in historic towns, and what I love about it is how it gives a house a classic, clean, slightly formal look with a hint of mystery: is it black? Or is it green? At the moment, I’m on Martha’s Vineyard, but reading about Southern style, so this color that intersects both worlds and is part of each regions vernacular is quite intriguing.

In Charleston the story goes that residents added hints of blue and yellow to a government issued black after the Civil War as an act of independence. And in the New England area, I am told that it has to do with the harsh climate and the Puritan heritage. Neither of these tales can be officially verified, but it doesn’t really matter to me…lovely stories, lovely color.

onthresholds_edgartown near-black green

Happy Hump Day!

the scrapbook: chinoiserie


chi·noi·se·rie | noun | the imitation or evocation of Chinese motifs and techniques in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century.

In a new book about timeless Southern style (more on that soon!) there is chinoiserie everywhere, and I have to admit that I have often confused it with toile. Toile is a pattern that is French and often depicts the French countryside, while chinoiserie means “Chinese-esque” and includes all different kinds of Chinese images which can be found on fabric, wallpaper, furniture, folding screens and so on. I have been calling my foyer wallpaper toile when it is actually chinoiserie—so thank goodness I’ve gotten that straightened out for us (and now to actually pronounce it correctly…).

If you are a little bit afraid of something like this, the pattern above is a removable wallpaper from

last trip: the town of Oxford, Maryland

Oxford ferryIMG_3093

We have come to think of Labor Day weekend as our last chance at summer—last dip in the pool, last ride on the boat, last burger on the grill, last stroll on the beach, last ice cream cone, and so on. The days will get busier and shorter and chillier, and so we throw ourselves into a long weekend of all things “summer.” And even if it isn’t actually “the end” (for September can be warm and full of outdoor activities), sometimes a symbolic end is just as meaningful, if not more so than the real thing. Read more

a light, late summer supper

onthresholds_table with ferns and blue candlesticksFullSizeRender 16


August can be a tricky month—one minute we are frolicking in the sea and sand, and the next we are shopping for school supplies and getting back into a hectic daily routine. So, I thought I’d share this recipe for The Simplest Salade Nicoise because not only is simple what many of us need right now, but also because it allows us to use some of the late summer fresh vegetables and tuna in a jar or in a can (see note below about this!). It’s perfect for this time of year: elegant without being fussy, so it would be nice for Sunday supper, and, light and quick enough for a weeknight after a busy day. Read more

Sundays at the farmers’ market

Onthresholds_Sunflowers at FMIMG_3054

These late summer days have brought sudden storms and torrential rain followed by glorious days with billowing clouds, soft winds, and no humidity. They’ve brought sunflowers and dahlias and peaches and sugar snap peas. And, for me, the feeling that I must get to the farmers’ market for all of these things, not to mention the best tomatoes and corn on the cob before they are gone for the season. Read more

the scrapbook: hello August

onthresholds_sunflowers in blue and white pitcherIMG_3052

Sunflowers are everywhere now—I’ve seen patches of them in gardens, fields of them in the countryside, and buckets of them at the farmers’ market this past weekend. And I think I like them best that way—together as a group, not mixed in with other flowers. There is something about how tall they stand, how bold they look in the blazing sun, how of-the-earth they seem that suits their appearance in August, when the days are still hot and summer is still with us, but there is a hint of autumn in the air…

the scrapbook: Queen Anne’s lace

onthresholds_Queen Anne's laceIMG_3014

Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota)

“It is a very pretty chandelier of a flower fit to adorn the forest floor…The common carrot by the roadside, Daucus carota, is in some respects an interesting plant—for its umbel as Bigelow says is shaped like a bird’s nest, and its large pinnatifid involucre interlacing by its fine segments resembles a fanciful ladies’ workbasket.”

                              ~ from The Journal of Henry David Thoreau (July 3, 1852) Read more